Civics community hails change to SAT

No one has seen what the new SAT will look like yet, but at least one of the changes in the recently announced sweeping overhaul of the exam was immediately applauded by civics educators.

All students taking the redesigned SAT after it launches in 2016 will encounter an excerpt from one of the Founding Documents or a text from the ongoing Great Global Conversation about freedom, justice, and human dignity.

“In this way, we hope that the redesigned SAT will inspire deep engagement with texts that matter and reflect not only what is important for college and career, but what is important for citizenship here and around the world,” the College Board said in its announcement of the changes.

The civics-related content will appear in the section of the SAT for evidence-based reading and writing, and possibly could also show up in the optional essay. The third section of the revamped test is math. The new SAT will focus more on having students justifying their answers rather than just coming up with the right answer in a fill-in-the blank format, according to College Board President and CEO David Coleman.

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, founder and board chair of iCivics, praised the College Board’s decision to include civics content on every exam.

“To live today and to graduate from high school and then perhaps college, and then to go out in the world, requires that we have some basic understanding of our rights as citizens – what we can do and what we are expected to do,” O’Connor said. “Every one of us as citizens of this country needs to be familiar with those Founding Documents, what they say, and why they matter.”     

More details on the SAT College Board changes